Convocation guides students to success


Mohammad Tazin photo

American Nina Warrior Star Hoan Do walks through the crowd encouraging them to shake off their insecurities.

Academic Support Programs at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville provided insight for the incoming freshmen class about how to handle their newly found freedoms on campus. Incoming freshmen will face new challenges from making connections with other students and faculty to being responsible for balancing their social lives and course load. Hoan Do welcomed 500 students and shared his story at Velzy Commons on Sept. 3.

Kia Hendrickson, assistant director of Academic Support Programs, hosted the Welcome Convocation at this year’s Welcome Weekend and introduced Do as well as representatives from the Dean of Students office and the city’s police department. The event began with a welcome from the vice chancellor of academic affairs, Dr. D. Joanne Wilson. Hendrickson warmed up the audience with what she called the flashlight activity. This activity required students to use the flashlights on their phones to reveal their emotions about their first few days at college with the other peers that they were surrounded by. If a student felt nervous about being away from home or if they agreed with any of the questions that were on the projector, students raised their right hand and flashlight into the air. This activity engaged students and prepared them for possibly the best advice yet.

Do is a professional speaker that travels around the country and presents to youth and fully grown adults from different backgrounds and settings. Over the past nine years, he traveled across North America spreading his story about college, depression and ways to find self-satisfaction. Other than being a professional speaker, Do was a contestant on American Ninja Warrior and qualified for the city finals in Venice, CA. He competed against several other people at 2 a.m. before qualifying for the top 30 feature that night. Not only did he qualify for the feature, but he did this after shattering his ankle training on a trampoline a week before.

“When one thing doesn’t work, the GPS needs to reroute. If you keep rerouting, you will find yourself at your end destination,” Do said.

Do put in about four hours per day of rehabilitation following the injury and was able to find success. Do refers to his GPS and how important it is to be flexible. The GPS stands for goals, purpose and strategies. Do encourages all goals that students set to be specific, such as having good grades. Good grades means something different to every student as well as being involved on campus. Do also explained “the purpose of every goal is not to achieve it. The true reward is what you learn, who you become and the confidence that you gain.”

Do stressed having  quality strategies to maintain happiness to help individuals strive for success. A student’s willingness to adapt and keep trying to get to his or her destination is essential to life after college because in college “everything is laid out for you… there is no course syllabus in life.” Do explains to students that life successes are clouded by our current idea of networking.

Do said, “For me, the problem is that people believe that the only way to a successful life is know of a lot of people and have a lot of followers and friends on Instagram and Facebook but that is false, connecting with someone is taking the time to understand them.”

A popular saying about life after college is, “it is not about what you know, rather it is who you know.” This phrase makes people try to make all of these online connections, but honestly, it is important to actually know others in your classes at UW-Platteville rather than just friend those people that you sit across the room from this fall. Do wants to make sure that students don’t think less of themselves based on what the other people in their network post online.

“People only post the good stuff. We get stuck in the short-term gratification. This adds pressure that others have it all together, I have to get it all together but that is okay. Everyone has their own journey,” Do said.

Do wrote his own book that tries to share with readers that college won’t teach students everything and how real world experiences  are extremely important. His book is called Succeeding in the Real World: What School WON’T Teach You and would be a good read for anyone that is concerned about life after college.

Academic Support Programs will also be offering academic coaching to all students this school year. If you are interested in seeking out one of these mentors, contact Academic Support Programs or stop by 3rd floor Brigham Hall to schedule an appointment to help with collegiate success.